In relatively less exciting news than the Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler trade, the Minnesota Twins added four more players to their 40-man roster today. The players added are 1B/OF Max Kepler, middle infielder Jorge Polanco, 1B Kennys Vargas, and left-handed pitcher Logan Darnell. Moving these players to the 40-man roster helps prevent them from being picked by any other team in the Rule 5 draft in December. By moving these players to the 40-man, the Twins now have 39 of the 40 possible spots filled. While these players are on the outside looking in as they work toward starting spots in a few seasons, they do provide some promise for the pipeline that is our minor league system. Here is a little background and info on each of the newest additions.
Kepler, the biggest name of the new additions, is a German born player that was highly scouted by the Twins as he grew up. He has been a roamer in the outfield playing all three spots in the Golf Coast League, the Appalachian League, and then at Class A ball in Cedar Rapids. He is the Twins’ 8th best prospect ranked by MLB.com and has a high ceiling as he is only 20 years old. In 2013, his only season at Cedar Rapids, he his .237 with nine home runs and 40 RBI in 61 games.
Polanco, another 20 year old added, is a switch-hitting middle infielder that has impressed while at Cedar Rapids this past season. With a clip of .308/.362/.452 in 115 games, it is safe to say he had a very successful season in Class A ball. To go along with his .308 average, he had 32 doubles, 10 triples, and knocked in 78 runs.
Vargas, a 23 year old first baseman signed by the Twins back in 2009, played at Class A+ ball at Fort Myers last season. There, in 125 games, had a batting clip of .267/.344/.468 with 19 home runs, knocked in 93 runs, and had 33 two-baggers. While his average, on-base, and slugging dropped from 2012 while he was at Beloit, he showed enough this past season to help keep himself protected and safe in the organization.
Darnell, the oldest of the four, is a 24 year old left-handed pitcher who split time between New Britain and Rochester last season. He posted a 10-10 record in 27 appearances (26 starts) with a 3.22 ERA. While he fared much better at Double-A than Triple-A, he had an overall very successful season and was very deserving of a spot on the 40-man roster.
While three of the four newest members to the Twins 40-man roster have not been past Class A+ ball, the organization sees four valuable players worth protecting as the Rule 5 draft is fast approaching. These four moves may seem like nothing in terms of what the average fan may see and know, it is moves like these that help the organization hang on to young talent with potential to be MLB players down the road. We may not know now what these four players will be in the upcoming years, but we do know they will be part of the Twins organization after the Rule 5 draft in December.